Direct Neurotization: Past, Present, and Future Considerations

Sydney R. Horen, Alireza Hamidian Jahromi, Petros Konofaos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Direct neurotization is a method that involves direct implantation of nerve fascicles into a target tissue, that is, muscle fibers, skin, cornea, and so on, with the goal of restoring aesthetic, sensation and or functional capacity. This technique has been implemented since the early 1900s, with numerous experimental and clinical reports of success. Applications have included both sensory and motor neurotization of muscle, as well as protective sensory provision for other organs. These techniques have been used to restore corneal sensation, repair brachial plexus injuries, reestablish tongue movement and function through direct tongue neurotization, and reinnervate multiple facial muscles in patients with facial paralysis. Most recently, these methods have even been used in conjunction with acellular cadaveric nerve grafts to directly neurotize skin. Indications for direct neurotization remain limited, including those in which neural coaptation is not feasible (ie, surgical or traumatic damage to neuromuscular junction, severe avulsion injuries of the distal nerve); however, the success and wide-range application of direct neurotization shows its potential to be implemented as an adjunct treatment in contrast to views that it should solely be used as a salvage therapy. The purpose of the following review is to detail the historic and current applications of direct neurotization and describe the future areas of investigation and development of this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-312
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • direct muscle neurotization
  • direct neurotization
  • direct sensory neurotization
  • nerve
  • nerve repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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